A couple of AFC South division rivals will hit the field on Sunday afternoon for one of the more exciting matchups of the NFL’s Week 3 schedule (1 p.m. ET on CBS).
The 2-0 Jacksonville Jaguars have looked like a legitimate championship contender after two games. The Jags tamed the New York Giants’ offense on the road in Week 1, then blitzed the mighty New England Patriots in Week 2 with a big 31-20 win.
The 1-1 Tennessee Titans have maximized a roster ravaged by injuries. They lost 27-20 in Miami against the Dolphins in Week 1, but rebounded to eke out a 20-17 win over the Houston Texans in Week 2 without starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota’s status for Week 3 is still unknown. However, there are still other key storylines to focus on. Let’s break those down and then offer some Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars predictions and picks.
Was Blake Bortles’ Accuracy Against the Patriots an Anomaly?
If Bortles is always as good as he was on Sunday against the Patriots, the Jaguars just might be the Super Bowl favorite. Jacksonville’s 26-year-old quarterback stepped up in a game where star running back Leonard Fournette was injured by passing for 376 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 35 rushing yards on six carries.
The most impressive part of Bortles’ game was how accurately he squeezed some of his throws in tight windows. There were several times where he put the ball in perfect spots where only his receivers could catch them.
Up until Week 2, most people considered Bortles the weak link of a football team that was otherwise very well-rounded. But now, could the Jaguars be at least solid in all facets of the game?
The possibility that running backs Fournette (hamstring) and T.J. Weldon (ankle) could both be limited by injuries puts more pressure on Bortles, too. Can he play well against a mediocre Titans’ pass defense?
Can the Titans’ Offensive Line Continues its Stellar Play?
The Titans turned their offensive line over to new coach Keith Carter this offseason after a dismal performance in 2017.
So far, the Titans have been amazing at blocking for the passing and running games despite several injuries to their linemen.
They’ll need that elite blocking to continue against a beastly Jaguars defense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is still questionable to play Sunday with an elbow injury, and his backup, Blaine Gabbert, is nothing more than a replacement-level signal-caller. The Titans have mediocre running personnel, highlighted by starter Derrick Henry, who is also dealing with an injury (back). The personnel will be on the protection to make things easier for the Titans’ skill position players.
Will Some Titans Trickery Catch the Jaguars Off Guard?
New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has reached into his bag of trick plays plenty in the first two games of the season. With uninspiring personnel on the offensive side of the field, he’s been effective in getting big plays with deception on special teams and with funky offensive formations.
Those plays have overshadowed an overall inability to move the ball and stop opponents from moving the ball. Tennessee is just 25th in total yards and 26th in yards allowed, and it is the only team aside from the 0-2 Arizona Cardinals that ranks 25th or worse in both categories. However, the Titans are still 1-1 and have a halfway decent point differential of minus-4.
Jacksonville needs to expect the unexpected in this contest, because Tennessee will try anything and everything to keep the Jaguars’ elite defense on its toes.
Our Preview’s Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Week 3 Betting Picks & Predictions
This is a division game, which usually means that the final score will be somewhat close. However, with the Titans’ injuries to key players on the Jaguars’ fantastic start to the season, I can’t see Tennessee staying too close in Jacksonville.
The Titans would prefer to rely on their running game, but the Jaguars will get an early lead and force Tennessee to pass on its elite secondary.
- Many USA oddsmakers are holding off on posting lines because of all the injuries. However, I feel pretty good recommending the line of Jaguars -9.5pts @ -115 with BetOnline or Bookmaker.
- The Jaguars getting an early lead should force the tempo of the game to pick up. However, Jacksonville’s running game is good enough to keep scoring even as it shifts to a more conservative game plan in the second half. Bet on the over 39.5pts @ -115 with the same two sportsbooks, BetOnline or Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.